Everyone has a blog. So what will make mine different? I think I figured it out... My blog will contain photos taken only by myself, or at least with my camera or blackberry. At least that's the plan for now. That way at least you can be sure I know what I'm talking about. I took the photos above after the Mickey Avalon show at The Shelter on 8/9/07.
So this one is special. This place- no wait- institution- is someplace very special to me and to the City of Detroit. When I was a kid, my father used to take me to this little super old school Coney Island restaurant, and the place still stands strong as ever. LAFAYETTE CONEY ISLAND.
For those of you not from The D, or not familiar with it anyway, you are probably scratching your heads. "I thought Coney Island was that place in BK where they have the roller coaster and the Zoltar thing from the Tom Hanks flick". Well, it is. But follow me... There is a world famous hot dog establishment on Brooklyn's Coney Island called Nathan's. Nathan's, as you may know, developed into a nationwide hot dog chain. They are also the home of the annual hot dog eating competition where that Japanese kid always wins. It is also said that Coney Island is the birthplace of the hot dog. So, Detroit decided that all restaurants where they serve chili dogs as a specialty are going to be called Coney Island restaurants. I know its a logical leap, but that's the way it is. And we have TONS of them. People in Detroit are fat, and they love chili dogs (and fried food- right Sheck?). Also for some reason, a lot of these establishments are owned and operated by Greek folks. I don't know why.
So, as far as I'm concerned, Lafayette Coney Island, probably one of the oldest, is THE BEST hands down. For late night grease satisfaction, there is no place finer. Its open late (I think until like 4 am on the weekends) and they serve very few things- chili dogs, loose chili dogs (a hot dog bun with ground hamburger and chili on top), french fries, a bowl of chili, sodas (they call them "pop" in Michigan), beer, and some assorted pies. That's it. Don't go there and order sauerkraut. They don't have it and they probably will just shrug their shoulders and walk away.
I stole some history on the place from a different blog:
Gust Keros immigrated to Detroit from Greece in 1910 and opened American Coney Island in 1929 on Lafayette Avenue. His nickel dogs were so successful that he sent for his brother William and trained him in the business. When the storefront next door became available, William started Lafayette Coney Island. The two have remained side by side for the past 70 years and are still owned by third generation family members.
Now, American Coney Island, right next door to Lafayette, is nowhere near as good. In fact, it sucks compared to Lafayette. When we I first started going to Lafayette with my father, up until around 1990, they didn't serve french fries, only potato chips. American stole business from them by serving fries way before Lafayette. However, I have such loyalty to Lafayette that I only ate at American a few times, and it was only when Lafayette was closed (American seems to stay open later). Proof used to like American better, and made me go there with him once late night with Mark Hicks. He argued with me all the time that it was better. I miss you P, but you were wrong on this one.
Lafayette Coney Island, 118 W Lafayette Blvd. Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 964-8198